Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein were among the first to greet President Donald Trump when he deplaned Air Force One Wednesday at MCAS Miramar in San Diego.
Mayor Vaus said he gave President Trump a “Mayor’s Medallion” after shaking the president’s hand in the receiving line upon his arrival.
Vaus told NBC 7 he had the medallions made when he entered office as a way to thank Poway city employees, residents and others for their service.
The Poway mayor wanted to show his gratitude for Mr. Trump's "steadfast support" of the victims in the Poway synagogue shooting as well as the broader Poway community after the attack.
"From two hours after the shooting I heard from the White House. A few hours after I heard from the president," Mayor Vaus told NBC 7. "Since then the White House continues to check-in and make sure we have the resoures we need, make sure we have the support we need, and that's important to us."
In April of this year, a man with an assault-style rifle entered Chabad of Poway and opened fire, killing one and injuring several others.
Vaus said he didn’t tell any of the security present that he was going to give Mr. Trump the medallion, so it came as a surprise to Mr. Trump.
"I shook his hand -- he had a strong grip -- and I said, 'Mr. President, you have been steadfast and i'm here to thank you on behalf of the city of Poway for all you've done and for all your administration has done. This Mayor's Medallion is a token of our appreciation.'"
As Mr. Trump moved down the line, Vaus stepped out of line and intercepted the President at the end of the line where Rabbi Goldstein stood. Goldstein was one of the victims in the shooting, losing part of his index finger.
Rabbi Goldstein previously met Mr. Trump at the White House's National Day of Prayer Service in May where he was invited to speak. President Trump also honored Army Veteran Oscar Stewart and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Jonathan Morales, who chased the shooter away from the synagogue.
Speaking to the press outside the White House after the May event, Goldstein said, "To hear the President talk about Chabad of Poway, talk about our synagogue in San Diego, and to talk about Lori Kaye, is what American spirit is truly about. We are one nation, we are one for all, and all for one."
[SD] Aftermath of the Poway Synagogue Shooting
John T. Earnest, now 20, was charged with one count of murder with a hate-crime special circumstance and gun allegations, three counts of attempted murder with hate-crime and gun allegations and one count of arson of a house of worship.